- Kmart Australia is serving web-based augmented reality (AR) ads programmatically as part of a new campaign aimed at local consumers, according to details shared with Mobile Marketer. Kmart Australia is a separate entity from the Kmart brand owned by Transform Co.
- Kmart Australia, which is owned Wesfarmers, worked with agency Universal McCann and immersive technology developer OmniVirt on the effort, which lets consumers virtually visualize decor and furniture products available at the chain's stores in their home and other environments.
- Users can select and move the products via their smartphone camera without having to download a special app. The interactive ads are running across publishers including the Daily Mail, Yahoo!, Reddit, Buzzfeed and Apartment Therapy.
Retailers leveraging AR to help consumers visualize cumbersome products like furniture in their home has become a popular application of the technology, which bridges physical and digital spaces via the smartphone camera. Kmart Australia is breaking with the common approach of centering immersive campaigns in apps developed by either third parties or the brand itself.
The strategy could remove friction for consumers, allowing them to engage with an AR experience without having to download and sign up for another service. Distributing the ads programmatically across major publishers could also lend the campaign greater scale than typically niche or app-gated AR activations allow.
Vendor OmniVirt specializes in immersive web-based efforts, and has worked with brands like Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Sally Hansen. An internal study by the firm claims that AR display ads achieve 22 seconds of consumer attention on average.
The demand for web-based immersive advertising strategies could be growing as users spend more time on the channel, and the promise of even faster load times and capabilities under wireless upgrades like 5G grow. A recent study by the mobile-only ad firm Kargo found that web usage commanded the most amount of time — roughly 17% — spent on mobile devices.
Kmart Australia is among a number of traditional big-box retailers turning to mobile-oriented marketing to cater more to millennial and Gen Z consumers, who favor smartphone usage but are shopping at physical stores less frequently. Shopping decisions informed by AR and its sister technology virtual reality (VR) were cited as the top retail technology trends of the future in a study published last year by Infinity Research.
Correction: This story has been updated to reference the brand as Kmart Australia, which is a separate entity from the Kmart chain of stores owned by Transform Co.